MSHA Extends Two Comment Periods

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) agreed to a longer comment period on two regulatory items. One proposed regulation would require workplace examinations before work begins and operators to document any hazards found, and the other is MSHA’s request for information on exposure to diesel exhaust in underground operations, according to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA).

Stakeholders’ perspective on the proposed workplace exams rule is due by Sept. 30. NSSGA is currently writing comments in opposition to the proposal’s key provisions as MSHA is requesting feedback on the effects of documenting hazards to see if it helps or hinders operators in avoiding safety violations.

Currently, operators inspect work areas during shifts and address safety issues that are discovered accordingly. The safety record of the industry has improved steadily for 15 years, so as currently written, the proposed rule is seen by NSSGA as overly prescriptive. It will likely undercut operator ability to manage for safety and is duplicative. The proposal would also increase administrative tasks without requisite safety benefits.

Producers are encouraged to submit comments on the exams proposal and should send them by Tuesday, Sept. 6, to Joseph Casper, NSSGA vice president of safety, at [email protected].

Operators have until Nov. 30 to submit comments on a rule regarding worker exposure to diesel exhaust in underground operations. In June 2016, MSHA issued a request for information on the matter of underground workers’ exposure to diesel exhaust. NSSGA’s Safety and Health Subcommittee is developing comments for MSHA on this issue and invites operators to submit any comments or information to [email protected] by Tuesday, Nov. 1.

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